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Ai Group welcomes job creation focus in SA State Budget

21 July, 2016

The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group) welcomes the SA Government's initiative in job creation and the Job Accelerator Program.

"The Australian Industry Group (Ai Group), which represents manufacturers and a broad range of other industry sectors, has welcomed the State Government's initiative in ensuring that job creation is the major focus of today's State Budget. However, a number of issues remain of concern – including rising power prices," Ai Group Head South Australian Branch, Stephen Myatt, said today.

"In particular we welcome the Government's Job Accelerator Program. This will provide a cash subsidy to employers to create new jobs and will assist workers displaced from the automotive manufacturing sector to find other opportunities in South Australian industry.

"We also hope that it will provide a boost to increasing the commencements of apprentices and trainees.

"Secondly, the creative initiative to upgrade STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) facilities in public schools will help in ensuring the State has the necessary skills on hand to participate in advanced and complex manufacturing projects such as the submarine program.

"In relation to other announcements, we have worked closely with the Industry Participation Advocate and support the additional funding to enhance his role; also the $80 million Innovation Package; and the extension of the Payroll Tax Rebate Scheme through to 2019/2020.

"Two areas of disappointment to us relate to the previously announced increase in the solid waste levy and the ongoing critical issue of higher power prices.

"In regard to the waste levy, this will affect some of our member companies at a time when they have limited capacity to pass on this cost increase.

"We are particularly concerned that the Budget did not address a major impediment to competitiveness from the substantial increases being experienced by some manufacturing companies in the cost of power.

"In our view this is an issue of urgency and whilst the Government is co-funding a feasibility study to upgrade the Murray Link Interconnector, this at best may provide some long-term relief but leaves the immediate problems unaddressed," Myatt said.

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